Odds ‘n Ends

 

In mid-64, 2 Lamborghini engineers, with mechanic and test driver Bob Wallace, conspire after hours to create a mid engine sports car. In 65 Lamborghini presented the P400 (4L twin cam V12) chassis at the Turin Motor show.  Bertone then instructed young Marcello Gandinito construct a chassis, without any further brief. This then became the Lamborghini Miura, which debuted at the Geneva Auto show in 1966. To me the Miura is the most beautiful Sports car ever made- it did something for me the first time I saw it, that equals falling in love. I later on had a chance to Modify and drive a few. Few remain due to the problem in synchronising the 6 Weber downdraughts- if done wrong fuel would spit out of the bells, with a backfire and cause the Car to burn. Compared to most modern Mid Engine cars a good driver could still keep it under control- and man is she fun to drive on a twisty Mountain road, hardly anything in Life compares. What should make us think is Gandini’s words about the project “ These were years of immediate decisions, with full trust and freedom for the people working on a project. We did not have all the meetings, the delays, and doubts that today cause impersonal and collective solutions that take away interest and efficacy”.

 

South Africans and Namibians can be proud of one thing- very few places in the World will you be greeted with less enthusiasm in the business World.

The chance of someone phoning you back, when you leave a message, is about as much of a chance as getting a reply out of Old Mutual.

If you promise parts or a job completion on a certain day, it should be finished then. Not here! This is normally the day the Job commences.

 

On the 14 April I deposited funds into a South African bank Account. By the 16 June they still have not received it. You know what my bank tells me? It is not my fault but they cannot be held responsible either. What do you believe, my SA supplier thinks about that? It seems that most of these institutions take an example from Telecom on Service.

 

A major Automotive Company in South Africa recently confided in me that their market share in pick-ups was so high because they made the toughest around. Due to them only selling Fuel injected bakkies now, they are loosing major sales. Management is now divided in their decision whether they should Re- introduce a model that was discontinued in 94 to please the rural (read farmer) market. Not a bad idea I would say- I reckon that company that bought out a Bakkie in 4X4 and 2X4 with no frills and a never say die Engine, Gearbox, Chassis body Combo will definitely have good sales in that target market. Also who really needs an Air-conditioned leather seated, Hi Fi equipped 200 000+ Fishing/Hunting vehicle that is capable of over 160 kph. I know that I like to be able to take a garden hose to the inside of my truck sometime. In the end this is a Tool for us and should be Taai and Value for money. But unless you write Letters to the factory they will do no such thing.

 

Often people ask me how do I calculate my exchange rate? Recently my prices Jo-jo’d quite a bit because of the Rand - $ Fluctuating so much. Well I tried to make my last adjustment, hopefully until next year. If the $ drops below 6.75 net cost, I will adjust my prices down again.

I work out cost as: official rate: say 7.00 Rands to the $.

Bank charges for draft 2.5% approx.

So now we already have a theoretical Rate of 717.50 plus 85 charges per draft, say 1%.

This gives me a total of say 725 actual cost when Rand is 7.00 list.

My current costing (exchange rate to you) is at 7.15 all bank cost, which means a net of about 690 at the official Rate.

The Current forecast on rate is stable to end of this year (650 -700 /$) but I expect the Rand to go to 7.40 in 2001, on normal currency depreciation.

 

On the Front of carburettors I have bad news. They are not really made anymore. Want a Carter float? If somebody has old stock, fine. The factory will gladly make some for you- but of course it must be a production run of about a 1000 or so. Even simple things like Weber jets are hard to get, as the factory only sells a minimum of 400 at a time of any given size. Fuel injection has loads of advantages; the disadvantage is that you need to know a little bit about electronics to fix minor problems in the Bush.

 

There are 2 ways you get my Blood boiling:

1) Bring me a part to fix that is not clean and

2) Ask me a question simply because you Are too lazy to get to the Answer by elimination (there is no free Lunch in the mechanical world).

Automotive stuff is normally logical and a lot of Answers can be gleaned out of the Owners manual (most of them can be gotten out of the workshop manual). But alas, the average Joe Reads the Owners manual as often as he sends Flowers to the IRS.

 

A customer came to me a while back and asked me for a “core” engine that cost just under 5 grand- when he finished rebuilding it, it cost close to 20 smackers. I carry Rebuilt motors with a 1 year guarantee that cost 15 000.  Nobody is being Bulshitted, but why do most people think they can work cheaper than a professional can? Same comes to a lot of things, where people phone me, to tell me how to do my job or give me product info on my own products!  I know a set of Side draughts look and sound mean, but please we are living in the 21’ST century. I can normally set up a quality Fuel injection Set-up for 7500, which beats those DCOE’s loshande.

 

Recently we had a customer bring his vehicle, which we had done a conversion on, to the Agents. They found that the clutch slave cylinder nipple had broken of. They tried to “easy out” it and then replaced said cylinder with a new one for 510 Bucks, when that did not work. The customer should have been consulted first. I of course paid for the new cylinder, as I believe in backing a PAYING customer. Though, if the cylinder is so old that the nipple cannot be turned out, the slave cylinder should probably be replaced for safety sake.

 

Coming to traffic. I know fashion is hitting the hooter before the light turns green. But the latest is some drivers forcefully “educating” their fellow road users. Recently I overtook someone in his new Hilux because he was dawdling along in the middle of the road. Said gent then told me in anger never to do that again “want jy gooi klippe”- where are we getting to?

 

At most parties etc. people want to know prices of K&N Filters, performance increases of their bakkie and so on. Gooooodness, is it impossible to have a private life around here? I don’t mind discussing motors with people who are sharing my knowledge, but are you going to discuss your wife’s vasectomy with your doctor, while seated at the bar in Kuecki’s? I can’t drive my car up to my home driveway, without someone screeching to a halt behind me, asking on the status of his parts. What riles me, is that they were never ordered in the first place, and secondly I have a work phone number, where said “customer” can enquire (as if Namibians will use a phone). What convinced me that the Namibian population is totally devoid of manners, was me sitting in a restaurant having a candle light dinner with Urda, when some idiot has to come over with a Intelligent remark starting with “Nick ek het ‘n car…”. Then he proceeds to go into a lengthy Monologue in what is wrong with it. Why should I care? I never worked on it and probably never will, because serious buyers tend to phone me or visit me at work. So next time you are upset about my k… attitude, think about it!